Embodied cognition theories suggest that observation of facial expression induces the same pattern of muscle activation, and that this contributes to emotion recognition. Consequently, the inability to form facial expressions would affect emotional understanding. Patients with schizophrenia show a reduced ability to express and perceive facial emotions. We assumed that a physical training specifically developed to mobilize facial muscles could improve the ability to perform facial movements, and, consequently, spontaneous mimicry and facial expression recognition. Twenty-four inpatient participants with schizophrenia were randomly assigned to the experimental and control group. At the beginning and at the end of the study, both groups were submitted to a facial expression categorization test and their data compared. The experimental group underwent a training period during which the lip muscles, and the muscles around the eyes were mobilized through the execution of transitive actions. Participants were trained three times a week for five weeks. Results showed a positive impact of the physical training in the recognition of others' facial emotions, specifically for the responses of "fear", the emotion for which the recognition deficit in the test is most severe. This evidence suggests that a specific deficit of the sensorimotor system may result in a specific cognitive deficit.

Efficacy of facial exercises in facial expression categorization in schizophrenia

Mele, Sonia;
2021

Abstract

Embodied cognition theories suggest that observation of facial expression induces the same pattern of muscle activation, and that this contributes to emotion recognition. Consequently, the inability to form facial expressions would affect emotional understanding. Patients with schizophrenia show a reduced ability to express and perceive facial emotions. We assumed that a physical training specifically developed to mobilize facial muscles could improve the ability to perform facial movements, and, consequently, spontaneous mimicry and facial expression recognition. Twenty-four inpatient participants with schizophrenia were randomly assigned to the experimental and control group. At the beginning and at the end of the study, both groups were submitted to a facial expression categorization test and their data compared. The experimental group underwent a training period during which the lip muscles, and the muscles around the eyes were mobilized through the execution of transitive actions. Participants were trained three times a week for five weeks. Results showed a positive impact of the physical training in the recognition of others' facial emotions, specifically for the responses of "fear", the emotion for which the recognition deficit in the test is most severe. This evidence suggests that a specific deficit of the sensorimotor system may result in a specific cognitive deficit.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1045704
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